Book Review: You Carried Me

book cover for You Carried MeWhen I was given the opportunity to review this book, I jumped at the chance, and I’m so glad that I did.

You Carried Me by Melissa Ohden is the incredible story of an abortion survivor and her quest to find answers. She learned about her almost-tragic beginning from her adoptive family and she writes openly and honestly about how she processed this information and how she has used it to encourage other women along the way.

You can see an interview with her here.

I read the entire book in one sitting because I was so drawn in and touched by her life. I highly encourage you to pick up a copy and read it – AND, share it with someone who might need the encouragement that this book provides.

I received a review copy of this book from the publisher; all opinions are my own.

Book Review: Longing For Paris

It is rare that I pick up a book that speaks directly to my place in life and my current emotions, but this book did just that.

The full title of the book is: Longing for Paris: One Woman’s Search for Joy, Beauty, and Adventure-Right Where She Is, and it is filled with wisdom, vulnerability, and joy.

Sarah Mae humbly describes her journey to being content and finding adventures in her own town rather than constantly longing to be somewhere else – in her case, Paris. Her vulnerability and honesty are refreshing and impactful. She gained some amazing insight along the way and I underlined so many full paragraphs throughout the book.

Being a stay-at-home mother (to a terminally ill baby, at that) has often made me feel like I have to put my dreams on hold, like the things I was created to do (missions photography, for example) outside of motherhood will just have to wait. And to some extent they likely do need to wait; but, this book has shown me that there are ways to continue pursuing and refining my God-given desires and longings right here at home.

I don’t have to travel right now to refine my photography skills; I don’t have to travel to become a better writer; if I focus on God and on being content in my circumstances, there are adventures and joy to be found right here, every day, and all of this will continue to prepare me for whatever God has planned for me. This book reminded me that I am called to be where I am right now, and that God has placed these longings in my heart for a purpose, even if I cannot act on them right now.

There is so much more I could say, but I want you to read it for yourself!

Here are a couple of my favorite parts:

‘I want to be who God made me to be: colorful and beautiful and gifted, which brings me pleasure and Him glory…I want to carry myself with confidence in who I am; I want to embrace beauty because God made it. I don’t want to base my identity on physical beauty, because it’s vain and fleeting, but I want to enjoy beauty because it is pleasing to God to have me take pleasure in it.” (p.62)

 “When we look for Him, pushing all hindrances aside; when we aim for and keep our eyes on Jesus, letting nothing compare to Him, then I think we will be fully made available to Him, for Him. And we will change the world because God needs available people to be devoted and dedicated, laid open and vulnerable before Him so that in our weakness He is made strong. His power will come through us, and we will be able to do real Kingdom work, the kind that urges us out of our comfort zones as ourselves. We will be available to be completely used by Him.” (p. 68)

And the last one I will share:

When God wove us together out of dust and love, it was personal and intimate. God did not speak me into existence like He did the sun and the moon and the plants and the animals. He formed me, molding with his hands, and He breathed His breath of life into me. He knit me together in my mother’s womb. He knows me by name, and He knows every hair on my head. I am not spoken into being. I am created. I am art. I am the artwork of God.” (p. 137)

You won’t regret picking up this book. It is beautiful, insightful, vulnerable, and filled with wisdom. Sarah Mae is a talented writer and shares her heart so openly in her writing – see more of her work here.

Book Review: Love Letters From God

Above all, I want our children to grow up loving God and knowing that He loves them unconditionally. I want them to love reading their Bibles and to live out what The Bible says. Books like this one are going to be perfect in creating that foundation in their lives!

Love Letters From God by Glenys Nellist is a fabulous and creative book that brings The Bible to life for kids at their level while still maintaining accurate theology throughout. The author takes the most important stories and tells them in a kid-friendly way that will hold their attention and captivate them.

Each story also contains a flap for them to lift up and under the flap is a letter from God with a space to write their name.

I love this concept and cannot wait for my children to be old enough to enjoy this book!

I received a copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

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Book Review: Barren Among the Fruitful

Infertility is a heartbreaking condition that many women in my life have experienced, or are currently going through. In fact, before we conceived Tori we were wondering if we were ever going to be able to conceive as it took over a year and a half for us to become pregnant. There are so many women who struggle with this, and that’s why I loved this study. It is so relevant and important.

Barren Among the Fruitful is a real, honest look at infertility and is written by someone who knows the pain firsthand. She infuses humor into every chapter by titling them with questions often asked of women.

Amanda uses personal stories from women who have struggled with infertility or miscarriage to create a powerful book that will help women navigate this difficult road.

I definitely recommend this book, and I will be passing my copy along to a friend who is on this journey right now.

I received a copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. 

Book Review: Answering Your Kids’ Toughest Questions

Answering Your Kids’ Toughest Questions: Helping Them Understand Loss, Sin, Tragedies, and Other Hard Topics by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson is an essential read for any parent. Parents are the first people that their kids will talk to (in most cases) about things they encounter in life, and this book gives age-appropriate responses based on what the Bible says about each topic in an effort to help you adequately answer their questions.

What I loved the most about this book was the fact that they chose some of the hardest questions children might ask and they tackled them thoroughly – questions about divorce, sexuality, death, suffering, etc. I want to be prepared when our children ask us questions like these, and I know this book will be a fantastic resource.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: Teachable Moments: Using Everyday Encounters with Media and Culture to Instill Conscience, Character, and Faith

“There’s no way to avoid the intrusion of popular culture into our homes and families, but we don’t have to let these instances exploit and influence our children. Instead, we can use those unplanned opportunities to instill conscience, character, and faith into the hearts and minds of the children God has entrusted to our care.” (pg. 2)

In this day and age, you can’t be too careful when it comes to the things to which children are exposed. The battle to protect their innocence is a difficult one to fight. This book by Marybeth Hicks is invaluable! While I am a few years away from having to put the teachings of this book into practice, it’s definitely not too soon to start preparing for what’s ahead.

More than ever, kids are exposed to content and concepts in the media and the surrounding world that go directly against the Bible and Christian values. How can parents use these instances as opportunities to teach? This book breaks it down in clear language and talks about areas such as media, school, friends, sports, family, and the real world and how you can use these situations to build character in your child.

I especially enjoyed the chapter about media because it is an ever-growing part of everyday life. More than ever, people are connected to screens (whether through smartphones, television, etc.), and it’s increasingly difficult to avoid exposure. I agree wholeheartedly with this quote: “As Christians, we’re called to integrate our media consumption into our lives in ways that support our faith and values, and not as a perpetual temptation or an avenue of corruption.” (pg. 61) After reading this chapter, I feel better equipped to teach our daughter when the time comes.

It’s incredibly important to guard the hearts and minds of our children until they are old enough to maturely handle the content, and this book provides great advice about how to accomplish that. If you’re a parent of children under the age of 18, I highly recommend this book.

I received a copy of this book from Howard Books in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: NIV Once-A-Day Bible: Chronological Edition

The NIV Once-A-Day Bible: Chronological Edition is a wonderful, fresh way to encounter the Bible. I love the concept of a chronological Bible because it makes it come alive in a brand new way as you read about the events in the order in which they happened. History is understood much more clearly in context, and this provides that context.

The readings are broken into 365 sections, and each section is followed by a short “Reflection” section to help you process what you just read. The NIV is easy to comprehend and it flows well, making each reading even more enjoyable.

This Bible will definitely help me read my Bible consistently and to experience the Bible in a fresh, new way!

I definitely recommend this to anyone – even if you’ve read through the Bible many times, this is worth your consideration.

I received this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.